New Jersey salt shortages ahead of next storm

Toni Yates reports from Newark
February 17, 2014 2:20:53 PM PST
As we brace for yet another winter storm that will make for a messy morning commute, roads are expected to be a problem across the area.

That is especially true in Jersey City, where there is a shortage of salt to treat the streets.

The state's second-largest city is set to receive 500 tons of salt after running out last Thursday.

The salt is not a huge amount, but should be enough to get them through the latest snow.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop over the weekend encouraged residents to stay off city roadways if travel is not necessary, claiming that the shortage has left secondary streets frozen.

"We were told that we're getting today a total of 500 tons of salt, which will get us through hopefully one storm," he said. "We use about 800 tons per storm, so it's not adequate, but they're telling us we're at least going to have something today to at least get us through the next storm. The trucks started to come in this morning, so we're optimistic something will be there."

There is a foreign transport ship docked in Bangor, Maine, that is waiting for permission to transport 40,000 tons of rock salt to Port Newark. The ship was supposed to be headed to New Jersey, but it is waiting for a federal waiver before departing to for Newark because it is not carrying an American flag. Apparently, once a foreign ship docks at a U.S. port, it cannot dock at another U.S. port without a federal waiver.

The New Jersey State Department of Transportation only filed its application for a waiver Thursday night. The waiver has not yet been approved and likely will not be until at least Tuesday because of the holiday.

Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker are in contact with the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the waiver.

Menendez learned about it on Friday and immediately started working on it. His office believes the earliest it can get resolved is possibly Tuesday, and it would then take two days to for the ship to travel from Maine to New Jersey.